Evolution of Digital Computers


• Getting students to understand the objectives of the subject, and also including marks distribution for the subject.
• Review historical development of computer systems
• Identify design levels for computer system development
• Discuss descriptive and design tools for each design level
• Compare and contrast various performance metrics for computer systems

Computer Architecture
• Baer: “The design of the integrated system which provides a useful tool to the programmer”
• Hayes: “The study of the structure, behaviour and design of computers”
• Abd-Alla: “The design of the system specification at a general or subsystem level”
• Foster: “The art of designing a machine that will be a pleasure to work with”
• Hennessy and Patterson: “The interface between the hardware and the lowest level software”

• Computer architecture refers to those attributes of the system that are visible to a programmer -- those attributes that have a direct impact on the execution of a program
– Instruction sets
– Data representations
– Addressing
– I/O
• Synonymous with “architecture” in many uses and textbooks
• We will use it to mean the underlying implementation of the architecture
• Transparent to the programmer
• An architecture can have a number of organisational implementations
– Control signals
– Technologies
• Device implementations

Structure and Functions
• Structure is the way in which components relate to each other
• Function is the operation of individual components as part of the structure

Computer Functions
• Historically, a computer was a job title, not a piece of equipment!
• Requirements of a computer:
– Process data
– Store data
– Move data between the computer and the outside world
• Control the operation of the above

Functional View

Evolution of Digital Computers

Operations (1) Data movement

Operations (2) Storage

Operation (3) Processing from/to storage

Operation (4) Processing from storage to I/O

Structure - Top Level

Structure - The CPU

Structure - The Control Unit



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